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Commonly Asked Questions About Cat Nutrition

By: PetPlace Veterinarians

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11. Isn't my pet bored eating the same food?

Probably not, if she isn't refusing her food. You can liven up her diet by giving her high quality canned cat food as a treat, or mixed with dry food. However, don't suddenly change her diet – that can stress your cat out. If you want to switch, do it gradually, over a period of days.

12. What tests are done to make sure the food is safe for my pet?

Pet food companies use standardized animal feeding trials designed by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Animals are fed and monitored for 6 months to ensure that the food provides the right balance of nutrients. A product using this test will have language similar to the following on the label - "Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that Iams Food for Cats provides complete and balanced nutrition for all life stages."

13. Which pet food company or brand is the best?

In general, there are a number of prominent manufacturers of high quality food. They include Iams® (Eukanuba®), Hill's® (Science Diet®), Nature's Recipe® products, Nutra Max®, Purina® and Waltham®. The key is to know the protein and fat levels, moisture content, fillers, added vitamins and types of ingredients your particular cat requires. Your cat's age, medical condition and other factors (whether she is pregnant, for instance) also need to be taken into account. Work with your veterinarian to decide what pet food is best for your cat.

14. Should I buy expensive name-brand food over store-brand or generic?

In general, the pricier name brands are better, and they usually cannot be purchased in a supermarket. To buy them, you need to go to a pet store. Supermarkets stock what sells the most rather than the healthiest pet food. It's up to the cat owner to know what brands are the best.

15. Canned or dry, does it matter?

Dry cat food has greater "caloric density" compared to canned food, which contains more water. Simply put, there is less water in a cup of dry food as compared to a canned diet, so your cat needs to eat less to get the same amount of nutrients. Overall, the choice of "dry" vs. "canned" and "semi-moist" is an individual one, but most cats enjoy eating a combination of a dry food along with supplemental canned food.

16. Does my cat need vitamins and supplements?

According to most feeding studies of healthy cats, cats that eat a balanced diet do not need supplements. If you feel your cat needs supplements, talk to your veterinarian first. Feeding too many supplements to your cat can be dangerous.

17. What are prescription diets, and why would my pet need them?

Prescription diets are specially formulated diets to help in the treatment and care of pets with certain ailments or diseases (such as allergies, heart disease or diabetes). Some of these diets are only intended as a temporary change in food and others are recommended for the duration of the pet's life. These diets should only be given under the instructions of your veterinarian.

18. What is the best way to store cat food?

Cat food should be stored in a cool, dry place, preferably off the ground. It is helpful to pour dry cat food from the bag into a large, clean, plastic container with an airtight lid. Canned cat food can be kept in a cupboard with other canned foods.

19. I have a fat and skinny cat. How should I feed them?

The larger cat may be eating her own food and that of her skinny comrade. Feed them in separate rooms to allow the smaller cat time to eat her meal.

20. What healthy treats can I give my pet?

You may want to give your cat a little boiled chicken. You can also buy good quality, healthy treats from pet food stores. They should only be given sparingly, however. Talk to your veterinarian about the right type of treats to feed your cat.

21. Should I give milk to my kitten?

After weaning, your kitten does not need milk in her diet. She gets all the nutrients she needs from her food. Cats don't need and can have trouble digesting cow milk in their diet, so it is better to avoid giving it to them. (The milk they drink from their mothers is different from cow's milk.)

22. My cat will only eat tuna and liver. Is this bad, and can I feed her raw fish?

A diet of only tuna and liver does not provide adequate nutrition. It lacks sufficient taurine, which will eventually lead to blindness and heart problems. Raw fish is also bad because it contains an enzyme that breaks down iodine, which can lead to goiter. In addition, raw fish can contain parasites, which may affect your cat. High quality commercially available cat food is best.

23. Should my cat eat raw meat?

This is a controversial topic. Some people claim that cats need raw meat because they are natural hunters and have survived on mice, birds, etc. for thousands of years. Others worry about the bacteria and parasites present in raw meat. A little raw meat is probably all right, as long as it is not the primary part of the diet. It should be high quality beef, chicken or turkey. It might be best to avoid raw pork.

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